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as to the other professions. That of the ministry is exceptional in this country, and there have been few inducements to tempt labourers into the vineyard. But it is believed to be true that the demand for the best ability exceeds the supply, and that a vacant pulpit of a high order is filled with difficulty, and often by importation from Great Britain or her colonies. In medicine, apart from the usual ills that flesh is heir to, modern modes of life and work in our trying climate have produced complications, mental and physical, which tax the highest professional skill, and such skill in the various branches of the profession is more in demand and more highly paid than ever before. Naturally the need for young men to assist in the work is also great, and we see a certain class of these rising to assured success with a rapidity unknown in the last generation.
If it be asked how far is all this consistent with the professions being overcrowded, and with there being thousands who are doing absolutely nothing, the answer is that for those thousands there is no place in the professions. There, the race is now to the swift, and the battle to the strong. As turfmen say, "it is the pace that kills," and the pace to-day is so fast that all but a few are distanced. It is literally the survival of the fittest.
This may sound hard and cruel—it may have too much of the cry of Vce victis, but I believe it to be true, and perhaps it is better for the world that it should be true.
The fact is that the overstocking of the professions is but the outcome of what has been going on for more than a generation. As in an army those who command are few, and those who are commanded are the many and do the work, so in a community, the vast majority should be those who contribute to the material gain—putting it broadly, those who work with their hands rather than with their brains. But until very lately, although one heard much of the dignity of labour, it was a dignity which too many were willing to forego, and the only implement of labour which these considered proper for their hands was a pen. Their fathers did not all share this feeling. Except in that local class already referred to, in the last generation certain pursuits began with work that is now unknown; he who entered a countinghouse went there early in the morning, took down the shutters, swept the floor and lighted the fires. A student in a lawyer's office not only copied the pleadings, but all other papers, carried notes, went to bank, and did generally what was asked of him. But the sons of that generation have considered not only that customs have changed, but that work done by men's hands, no matter what, is derogatory. Hence, employment even as a clerk has been as much desired as any less elegant occupation has been scorned. Of course the supply soon exceeded the demand, and the unemployed crowd, educated and uneducated, is absurdly large in proportion to the community and its wants.
The reaction seems to have set in. Some young men of the present day have, it would seem, a future before them which was denied to their elders or was undreamed of by them. Many of them seem now to feel that no work can come amiss to them for which their abilities are fitted—that no life can be too hard, no privation too great which leads to their development. It is significant—and not as matter of regret but rather as matter of pride—that graduates of our universities are found in the machine shops of our great corporations, wearing grease-proof overalls and earning five cents an hour for a working day of eight to ten hours, out of which they pay their board. Of course, these see their future; they have measured their own capacity and foresee their ultimate promotion, though there is none for the first years. It is also significant that schools for mechanical instruction are springing up all over the country, and that some of our colleges have themselves introduced it among their branches.
Of course, one does not mean that our college graduates are to support themselves through life by manual labor—to be blacksmiths or brakemen or chain carriers—any more than the cadet at West Point who learns to clean his musket and his boots expects to be a private soldier or an officer's servant. There are brakemen who never get to be more, and there are soldiers who never attain the rank of a corporal. But here is where the education comes in, and the mechanical instruction and practical knowledge, based as they are on college training, are, as the mathematician would say, raised by it to a higher power. There is nothing in life which a man may do, no matter who he is or what it is he does, that he will not do better with the help of training. The extent to which the world is suffering from want of the highest education applied to its modern needs suggests lines of painful thought. Those who have been accustomed to sneer at the Baconian philosophy, and to think, as did Seneca and those of his school, that the well-being of mankind was beneath the attention of a philosopher, have had forced upon them the fact that with all the growth of civilization and wealth and taste and luxury, we are, as to many things, absolutely without knowledge. There is not a man in the world to-day who can build a cathedral, and Westminster Abbey and Notre Dame stand as monuments of what has never been done since the days when scarcely a man outside a monastery could read or write. The story told by the aqueducts built thousands of years ago contrasts strangely with those we hear to-day of towns whose polluted water has filled their hospitals with the dead and dying. Either it is true that scarcely a man in the world knows how to drain and pave a city, or else such knowledge is so limited that its possessor is like one crying in the wilderness. Either there are few who know how to build a house, or the many are so perverse that they refuse to have it built according to certain scientific, climatic and hygienic principles. Either there are few who can give competent judgment as to the probable future of a mine, or the many choose to employ less instructed men and lose their capital accordingly. One has but to mention such sciences as Chemistry, Geology, Engineering in all its branches, to suggest the future that therein lies to him who shall more completely give to the world their secrets. And no education can be too complete which may help to develop the practical results from the knowledge which, within this generation has come to us, that Light, Heat and Electricity are one Force with various manifestations.
Nor only this. Apart from education and mental discipline and all that comes therefrom, there is the fact that college life presents the only largely organized American existence in which play as well as work is now looked upon as a reasonable part of life. For love of play is as needful to be taught as love of work. It may be that colleges destroy some young men, but the percentage is very small, and whatever be the risks, they are invaluable if only to teach the healthy joy of play, of games, of use of the physical frame. After-life here in our serious race more or less discourages these.
We all know successful men of business who insist that in their form of career, the four years of college would be lost years. The reply is that what the average American business man lacks is capacity for mental, indeed for any amusement. In this direction the refining influence of four college years is beyond words. Physicians will tell us that they see every